by Kay of Kent

The residents and shopkeepers of Diagon Alley were rattled as the full force of the Auror Office visited the alley yesterday. The appearance of the law enforcement agency in Diagon Alley was in lieu with the sudden discovery of an unidentified body in the doorway of an empty shop lot. The victim, a male, was discovered by an errand boy, Louis Faber, upon arriving at the shop next door to open up for the day. Mr. Faber immediately contacted the authorities to report what looked to be a murder.

According to the Medical Examiner, Dr. Hobart Sturgess, the victim was in his late thirties and had died sometime in the night. Time of death was determined to be at approximately two o'clock in the morning. The victim appeared to have suffered a stab wound in the heart and was also hit with the Killing Curse. The body of the deceased has been transferred to St. Mungo's Hospital for identification and further examination.

The lead investigator, Mr. Clark Johnson, Senior Auror of the Criminal Division talked to press yesterday linking this murder with the disappearance of three other wizards, Ronald Wildsmith, George Harrison and Claude Thornton in the last two weeks. Upon questioning, Mr. Johnson revealed that the murder and kidnappings pointed back to the alleged shady dealings happening in the empty shop lot, "The Auror Office suspects that the dealings going on in the empty shop lot might be dark in nature. We have spoken to the residents of Diagon Alley and we have a few leads that we are currently investigating. Apart from Mr. Faber, there were no witnesses to the murder that night."

Just two weeks ago, the first kidnapped victim, Ronald Wildsmith was last seen entering the empty shop lot by one of the clerks working in Flourish and Blotts. This was just after midnight. When he did not return the following morning, his wife, Rose Wildsmith reported him missing to the Criminal Division. The Daily Prophet interviewed Mrs. Wildsmith on the disappearance and this was what she had to say, "My husband is not a bad man. I don't know why he was at the empty shop lot that night, but I am sure it wasn't for something bad. He's still alive, I know it. Please find my husband."

The residents of Diagon Alley had different things to say on the matter. Florean Fortescue, who owns the ice cream parlour opposite the empty shop lot reported strange noises and flickering lights coming from the empty shop lot. When he decided to investigate what was happening, he found no evidence of anyone being in there, "It is a very peculiar thing indeed. I could've sworn I heard men talking but when I went there to check, nothing! It's like they just vanished! Something evil is going on there I tell you, dark arts or something similar!"

The Auror Office had no further comments regarding the kidnappings but Mr. Johnson had some reminders for the general public, "Be careful of new business partners. There are dark wizards or witches out there targeting the public and committing these heinous crimes. If there is no need for business at night, stay indoors. I would also like to urge the public to come forward if they have any information regarding this matter."

The Daily Prophet would like to remind the public to exert caution when travelling at night and at all cost, please avoid going anywhere near the empty shop lot in Diagon Alley, just opposite Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. If you have any information about the kidnappings or murder, please send an owl to Mr. Clark Johnson, Senior Auror of the Criminal Division at the Auror Office.